Studio 3 Arts
Studio 3 Arts were commissioned to produce a promenade performance of William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice. The hugely successful run of 6 promenade performances in July 2016 recieved 4 star reviews in national press and incredible support from local people and businesses. The Merchant of Venice took over landmarks across Barking Town Centre, including local shops, restaurants, the Broadway Theatre, and the Council Chambers for the final dramatic courtroom scene. The Merchant of Venice was chosen by Studio 3 Arts not only as a part of worldwide celebrations of the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death, but also because this play in particular has strong themes which resonate with the borough. The performance incorporated a number of art forms, including dance, music, and the original text was fused with contemporary lyrical street poetry format to reflect the similarity between the rhythmic language used by Shakespeare and modern methods of storytelling.
Studio 3 Arts put together an impressive and exciting team for this commission, including composer Linton Bennett, who has worked as a songwriter for a host of famous artists across his career; writer Ashley J from MTV Base and Eastenders and Far from the Norm dance company; and Studio 3 Arts' Artistic Director, Liza Vallance, who will be dramaturg for the piece. Through this commission Studio 3 Arts combined this creative team with professional actors and residents of Barking and Dagenham. Local people were involved in every stage of the project, from behind the scenes production to taking centre stage and performing.